Traveling on a budget can be tough, especially if you’re going somewhere expensive. When a few dollars can make the difference between you spending the night in a crowded hostel room or a cozy two-star hotel, every buck you can save counts, and it counts big time. Thankfully, technology is here to save your broke butt, and I’m not talking about Airbnb or CouchSurfing, though they’re both good options if you’re looking for cheaper accommodations. I want to take budget travel tips to the next level. I want you to score free-lodging and boost your ego at the same time, and the only way to do this is through the magic of Tinder.
Yes, this hormone-fest of a dating app could help you save a bunch of money next time you decide to leather-tramp your way through a foreign country. It ain’t easy and it ain’t 100% effective. But if you’re not one to give up easily, and follow these simple tips, you might just find yourself setting your baguette-and-instant-ramen-filled body in a stranger’s home instead of some hostel, surrounded by bunk-beds filled with snoring dudes. So listen up, here’s what you need to do to safely turn Tinder into your personal travel agency.
1. Focus on finding lodging
Yes, we all know Tinder is mostly for casual hookups with random strangers. But it’s easier to secure a place to stay if you swipe with friendship in mind instead of sexual prowess. So when you match with someone, don’t put the moves on them, instead be charming, polite, and explain your situation: “I’m a struggling millennial, screwed over by a vicious job-market that makes it impossible to find a job that pays me enough to keep myself alive, much less have money to travel. So I’m getting down on my virtual knees and begging you to let me crash in your guest room/pull-over couch/normal couch/floor.” Works like a charm.
2. Never swipe left
Like I said, you’re not doing this to have sex or find the love of your life. You’re in this to find somewhere to sleep for a few days, tops. That means that the last thing you need to do is get picky with your candidates. Unless, of course, most of their pictures happen to be set under a bridge, next to a dumpster on fire… In that case, by all means swipe left. You don’t need that kind of drama in your life.
3. Pimp your profile
No drunk pics, shirtless pics, or pics of things that aren’t your face. This is pretty straightforward. You want to look like someone who likes to chill, read a book, or something. You need to present yourself with photographs in cool places, to show that you’re a cultured person, interested in getting to know the places you travel to. Choose pictures with other chill-looking people, so your matches see that you’re capable of social interaction with other members of society. It’s all about first impressions on Tinder.
4. Once you match, do some research
Tinder is flooded with fake profiles and bots, so right-swiping endlessly for hours will lead you to close encounters with these digital abominations. In that case, check their names on Facebook to confirm that your match is an actual human being or, in more extreme cases, one without ulterior motives to hooking-up or making friends. This is the kind of horrific thoughts that go through our mind occasionally when we’re on Tinder: “what if I match with some psycho?” You don’t wanna spend your vacation locked in a basement, rubbing lotion on your body, and holding some weirdo’s dog as hostage. Instead make good use of your Facebook stalking skills and corroborate that your innkeeper looks like a sane, stable human being.
5. Swipe in advance
In case you didn’t know, if you pay US$9.99 a month (US$19.99 if you’re over 30), you can upgrade your Tinder profile to Tinder Plus, which includes a feature called “Tinder Passport.” This little tool will allow you to match with people anywhere in the world, even if you’re not physically there. Why is this relevant? Say you want to go to Paris: you use Tinder Passport, choose Paris, start swiping away until you match with someone, and secure accommodations weeks in advance. You don’t even have to keep paying the fee, you could just get Tinder Passport for one month and look for matches in every city you plan to visit. Genius.
There you have it. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be a bit closer to free stays everywhere in the world. Is there any experience more local than that?
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